I don’t know if y’all feel the same way, but to me dinner never seems quite complete without my best friend, the carbohydrate. When I see a plate with a delicious piece of fish with some sauteed veggies my first thought is, “Where is the rice?” Especially when the weather is cold I crave the comfort of carbs. Unfortunately some say it isn’t “healthy” to eat pasta, potatoes, and pesto every day (recipe to come soon). So I have been trying to find alternatives that are just as filling. Thus, I come to lentils.
I found an article on Health.com that I think says it best: “Lentils are to India as meatloaf is to America: the quintessential comfort food.” The article also calls lentils one of the “World’s Healthiest Foods.” Score. They are full of protein and cholesterol lowering fiber, but don’t let this nutrition talk scare you off. They are equally as tasty as they are healthy. And come on, this recipe is from the Contessa herself, and who doesn’t love Ina? Nobody. So try it. You won’t regret it.
Lentil Soup with Sausage, serves 5
- 1/2 lb green lentils
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausage links
- 1 leek, chopped (white & light green parts only)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 1/2 cups diced celery (about 5 stalks)
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (about 4 carrots)
- 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon red wine or red wine vinegar
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Put the lentils in a medium bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let the lentils sit for 15 minutes and drain. In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the leeks, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and cumin. Saute for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are translucent. Add the celery and carrots. Saute for 10 minutes and then add the lentils, chicken broth, and tomato paste. Cover and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for an hour, uncovered. Meanwhile, cook the sausage on a grill or grill pan. Cut the links in half, lengthwise and slice 1/2 inch pieces. Add the sausage and wine to the soup. Check the seasonings – I added more cumin (shocking, I know). Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sausage is reheated. Serve with grated Parmesan.